Silent No More

Courtney Farrow always wanted to live a life of service to others. Through childhood experiences and expert training, she now gets to fulfill that dream through advocacy for the most vulnerable:
the children of our community.

by Avril Occilien-Similien

Courtney Farrow wanted to live a life that would help others for as long as she can remember. One of her fondest childhood memories is with her mother, Mandy, as they completed a painting to decorate the space that would house Newton County’s new advocacy center for children: A Child’s Voice. The center made its debut in 2008 with a mission to strengthen the coordinated community response to situations of child maltreatment. 

To this day, the painting that depicts colorful fish and a treasure chest still sits in the medical examination room of the facility. Farrow experiences the satisfaction of seeing it daily as she enters the building to fulfill her lifelong dream of helping people as a family advocate with A Child’s Voice.

“I’ve always wanted my life to be of service to others,” Farrow said, “and I am thankful I get to do that by being a voice for the voiceless.” 

Farrow’s journey to this rewarding role at the center was not a straight line but one filled with sharp turns and detours. Since her mother was a founding board member, Farrow was allowed to use her “limited skills” to create the center’s first website as a middle schooler. “Websites were a lot simpler then,” she said with a chuckle. 

“The work is never done.”

Courtney Farrow

As she ventured into high school, her desire to help others sparked her interest in pursuing a career as a doctor; advocacy work took a backseat to medicine. However, as she began her college adventure at the University of Georgia, her yearning to advocate for others grew more persistent, so Farrow shifted gears and pursued a bachelor’s degree in social work. 

“In my junior year of college, I had the opportunity to complete an internship with the center, which solidified my desire to pursue this type of work after graduation,” she said. Unfortunately for Farrow, there were no job openings at A Child’s Voice when she completed college. “I thought, ‘What now?’ That’s when I decided to pursue a master’s degree in social work, which I completed in 2021. Fortunately, by then, a family advocate position became available at the center, and as they say, the rest is history.”

Dull moments at the center are few and far between.

“Each day is different, and that’s one of the things I love about this role,” Farrow said. “A typical day may begin with a phone intake—a conversation with the non-offending caregiver of the child to schedule and prepare them for the in-person visit. Next, I may have up to two in-person visits from families needing our services. Often, accompanying caregivers are frazzled and nervous, and my first priority is calming them down and allowing them to see the big picture.” 

“While the child is being interviewed by a trained professional, I provide support and encouragement,” she added. “This support may include conducting a family needs assessment, providing resources and education, referrals to relevant community programs and, most importantly, a listening ear and reassuring words. I may end my day by following up on the families from previous visits or attending a monthly case review meeting. The work is never done.” 

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As an accredited agency, A Child’s Voice strives to live up to its mission to strengthen the coordinated community response to situations of child maltreatment. Through a collaborative effort between Walton and Newton County schools, the Alcovy Judicial Circuit, the Department of Family and Children Services, local law enforcement and various counseling and community programs, the center serves at least 150 new families per year and carries approximately a 300-count ongoing caseload. 

“Our goal is to get families back to a stable place with hope, healing and one step toward their future,” Farrow said. “I love what I do, getting to work with people from all walks of life. It is refreshing when there is a supportive caregiver and I can help them walk through their feelings of guilt and shame and see them transition to a state of hope and empowerment.”

Farrow was quick to respond when asked what important message she would send to others regarding the issue of maltreatment of children.

“Abuse does not discriminate,” she said. “It affects everyone. Don’t stay silent. If you notice something, say something. We are all here to protect each other.” 

For information about A Child’s Voice, visit

Click here to read more stories by Avril Occilien-Similien.

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